McLaughlin: IndyCar drivers criticising new Detroit track “need to relax”

Team Penske’s Scott McLaughlin says criticism of the new Detroit Grand Prix street course is “noise” and it should be judged on how it races on Sunday.

Scott McLaughlin, Team Penske Chevrolet

Practice at the new track, which is built in downtown Detroit around GM’s Renaissance Center headquarters, was plagued by a succession of red and yellow flags as drivers struggled with their braking stability on the bumpy and twisty 1.7-mile layout.

Traffic also caused a huge issue, with Andretti Autosport’s Colton Herta claiming that Saturday's 45-minute practice period was the only session he’s ever done where he didn’t get to complete even one clear lap.

But McLaughlin, whose team owner Roger Penske’s corporation transferred the event from nearby Belle Isle Island, believes his rivals were jumping to conclusions.

“We'll be all right,” McLaughlin said after qualifying on the front row. “With the track, there's been a lot of noise I've seen on Twitter, from other drivers and stuff. At the end of the day, this is a new track, a new complex.

“I think what everyone has done to get this going - the vibe is awesome. Belle Isle was getting old. We had to do it.

“Yeah, [there are some] first-year problems. It's always going to happen. It's just going to get better from here.

“The racetrack for the drivers is a blast. We don't even know how it races yet. Everyone is making conclusions already. They probably just need to relax and wait for tomorrow.”

Scott McLaughlin, Team Penske Chevrolet

Scott McLaughlin, Team Penske Chevrolet

Photo by: Art Fleischmann

McLaughlin, who won April’s road course race at Barber Motorsports Park, believes it’s up to the drivers to race responsibly, and that it’s no different to the challenge posed by the tight confines of the Nashville street course.

“It's always going to be self-control, self-discipline,” he added. “They've done a very good job. It's a very good pit lane, it's just tight, it's different. Who knows till the race?

“I think it will be eventful for the fans. We'll just have to figure it out.

“Everyone says we crash a lot in Nashville. I think it's going to race very well. It's just going to be up to us with the etiquette of the drivers to leave it up to us and figure it out along the way.

“I think it's going to race very similar to Nashville. Looking at it, there's going to be a lot of passes, I think [good] opportunities.”

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